VCFe Munich report

From: Lawrence Wilkinson <>
Date: Sun May 11 20:01:00 2003

I spent last weekend at the European Vintage Computer Fair
( in Munich. I didn't take anything along for display
myself, but spent the time looking at what the others had brought.

I guess my favourites were the CP/M portables, since I haven't played
with one for years. Gaby Chaudry ( had brought along a
Kaypro and an Osborne 1. I'm not sure how we ever survived with the
tiny screen on the latter.

Other highlights: a nice display of disk drive head assemblies, from the
huge to the miniature; evolution of the Mac LC (I'm not into these, but
it was interesting); an IDE interface for the Z80 (if they ever do an
8080 version I'll take one); lots of old machines doing very impressive
things, showing that there is still effort going into to programming and

I suppose the thing which came home to me was how there was an explosion
of PC design in the late 70s/early 80s before things converged to the
IBM/Apple paths.

Tours were running to see the Cray-4 & Cyber 960 (
and I went along for a look. The temperature reminded me of when I had
my 360/30 running. These machines are available for remote access, the
Cray runs 24 hours a day.

I paid a quick visit to Hans Franke's warehouse, I'm sure he has one of
everything hiding there somewhere. I haven't seen a SC/MP evaluation
board for, well, decades.

Hans' presentation on storing vintage computer data as XML made me
realise that the most important thing is to get everything preserved,
and then work out what to do with it. I could store everything I've
ever written on an 8-bit computer in a corner of my existing hard drive
and not even notice it was there. I've got to dig out all those KCS
cassettes, ASR33 printouts and even a few bits of paper tape and get
them transferred.

Finally, I visited the Deutsches-Museum in Munich for a final fix of
computer stuff ( They have a very
good display of calculating and computing machinery, from ancient
instruments through Zuse Z3, Univac, IBM360 up to a Cray 1. I have a
soft spot for the 360/20, even if it's not quite as good as a /30.

Thanks to Hans for all his organisation, and to all the others that made
it such a good weekend. I will be back next year, hopefully as an

Lawrence Wilkinson                 
Ph +44(0)1869-811059        
Received on Sun May 11 2003 - 20:01:00 BST

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